Teaching

My teaching philosophy centers on the following objectives for student learning: 1) Understanding political science research and its application to difficult societal questions, and 2) Developing the skill sets required to think analytically and communicate effectively.

Description of Courses Taught:

Introduction to American Politics: An introduction to the study of American politics, beginning with the origins of federalism and American democracy through present day political issues, with a special emphasis on the latest political science research on institutions and political behavior.

Gender and Politics: Students will understand the history and current state of women in the American political process, the psychology of gender differences and the associated impact on public policy, especially as it relates to representation and interest. They will learn to distinguish between empirical and normative questions; that is, differentiate between the current state of the world (how it is) and a desired state of the world (ought to be) and how public policy is the means to bridge that space. Finally, students will critically evaluate scholarly research as well as complete a final project where they pose a research puzzle, offer testable hypotheses, and gather evidence to address their question. 

Religion and Politics: The political and religious are intertwined in politics around the world and within the preferences of individual people. In this course, students will explore the origins of political and religious beliefs, identify the political behavior of Americans in major faith traditions (as well as the nonreligious), and learn how to use online data sources to address these questions. This course will draw upon theory and empirical studies in political science, sociology, psychology and others to explore broad explanations of political and religious orientations.

Public Policy Analysis: This course provides an understanding of how policy actors address policy issues, guided practice with policy analysis tools and process, and an introduction to its application in real-world problem solving.

Senior Capstone Biology and Politics: For much of its history, scholars in political science have posited that human political behavior is a product of rational thinking, that we somehow weigh the costs and benefits of partisanship or a policy preference and select the one that provides the most benefit. Sources of influence have included family, peers, schools, society, culture, historical events and so on. Recently, social scientists have begun to test whether political attitudes and orientations may emerge from our biology. From thinking about political orientations like a heritable personality trait to another manifestation of an individual’s general processing of their environment, biology and politics is a nascent, ever-expanding, exciting sub-field within political behavior. This seminar will explore the various approaches, leading scholars, and innovative methods in testing hypotheses related to the origins of political beliefs and behavior.

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